People often have different ideas of what a “family vacation” means to them.
More often than not, we envision the all-American vacation with the Clark Griswold station wagon loaded down with suitcases, annoyed children, enthusiastic parents, a map and a clear destination point to be conquered.
Evan recently returned from a week long vacation in Texas with his grandparents. His dad and family stayed in a beautiful lake house and all the cousins were able to join them. Evan’s paternal grandmother was a preschool teacher, so each day had a theme such as “Fiesta Day” or “Safari Day” for all the kids to enjoy.
It’s a pretty different setting when my nephews visit the farm for their vacation with grandma.
Here, we have lighting bugs and a jar. The cows across the road are the “safari animals.” Heck, even these boys have a mobile unit to cruise around. Well, I should say they “had.”
My nephew Michael enjoys anything with a motor in it. He also watches a lot of Top Gear shows as well as stunt car action videos.
Needless to say, the farm’s golf cart will be out of commission for quite some time.
The brand new, freshly piled ton of #2 gravel was just too tempting for a 9-year-old dare devil.
In Caddyshack fashion, Michael managed to launch the golf cart up and not quite over the large pile of gravel.
If you followed the trail of oil for about half a mile, you could easily find the driver under the cart trying to figure out what happened.
It was also too tempting for their grandfather to piece the cart together to tease fate once more.
While Evan was in Texas last week, I took a few days off to head up north to Country Concert. I love country music and I spend more time with my neighbors there, despite being able to see their houses from my front porch. Literally.
I have been going for a few years, but this was the first time that I was staying overnight and camping the whole weekend through. Once I arrived on Thursday, I was stuck for the whole weekend.
But I didn’t mind. I was still excited to sleep in an RV, even in my late, late 20s.
My good friend Swank allowed me to stay in his brand new camper for the weekend. It’s not really camping when you have a flat screen TV, a hot shower and a queen size bed to yourself. Watching others “rough it” in tents made me cringe, so I wasn’t complaining.
Growing up, my family didn’t camp. Ever. In our world, camping was a vacation disguised as work.
And after this weekend, I half-way agree.
As a kid, I was always envious of those who got to haul their campers around to various places like Cedar Point or down at the lakes of Kentucky.
The only time I ever saw the inside of a camper was at the Poor Farmer’s display at the county fair. I thought that was luxury living right there. I guess it was the thought of having an entire house crammed into less than 100 square feet on wheels that has sustained the thrill of camping to this day.
As kids, the hotel stay was always the highlight of our childhood vacations. This was especially true when the majority of your vacation is spent driving through the Corn Belt to visit Lincoln’s tomb or peruse around Mark Twain’s Hannibal, Missouri. No camping or beach vacation for this family! When I was little, if we couldn’t compare the height and quality of corn and beans in both Indiana and Illinois via the interstate, it was a wasted trip.
When you spend your whole life in the country, clean sheets and hot water are not optional when you go on vacation. We stayed at a lot of five-star hotels, but it takes a roach motel stay or two to truly appreciate your parents’ taste in hospitality. When the remote control is bolted to the nightstand, or a guy has turned the parking lot in to a mechanic’s shop, you have a feeling it’s less than five-stars.
Needless to say, I was pretty much over the whole “RV high-life” come last Sunday morning. After four days in the sun, singing and dancing with 70,000 of my new closest friends, I was ready to come home.
Now that I’m 29 plus a few, I can appreciate a hot shower and the great outdoors from the other side of an air conditioned window.
“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears on Fridays in the Troy Daily News. She just isn’t quite cut out for life on the road.